office (585) 234-1056
The Rochester Regional Group
Email us: GreatLakesCommitteeSC@gmail.com
**Saturday, September 14, 2013 - Coastal Watershed Clean Up - See Larry the H20 Hero's Facebook page.
(1) Ellison Park, @ Roadside Shelter 9:00 am
(2) Braddock Bay @ 105 East Manitou Rd. Time TBD
(3) Greece Ponds @ Goodwin Park- the corner of Long Pond Rd. and Edgemere Dr. 9:00 am
(4) Payne Beach & Rose Marsh, East end of Lakeshore Dr, just North of Lake Ontario State Pkwy. 9:00 am
(5) Hamlin Beach Park, @ The Park Entrance 9:30 am
**Thursday, September 19, 2013 - Coastal Watershed Clean Up - See Larry the H20 Hero's Facebook page.
Buckland Creek @ Brighton High School 2:45pm in EDT.
**Saturday, September 21, 2013 - Coastal Watershed Clean Up - See Larry the H20 Hero's Facebook page.
(1) Durand Eastman Beach, Meet @ the beach 9:00 am
(2) Oatka Creek Park, Upper parking lot, just inside main park entrance 9:00 am
(3) Ontario Beach Park, Meet @ the Carousel 10:00 am
**Saturday, October 5, 2013 - Coastal Watershed Clean Up - See Larry the H20 Hero's Facebook page.
Webster Park- meet at fishing pier - 9:00am until 11:00am in EDT.
1. Advocacy to our legislators state and national
· Attend the Great Lakes Days in Washington as a part of Healing Our Waters (HOW) initiative http://healthylakes.org/
· Go to Albany to meet with state legislators (upcoming May 1st)
2. Education to our committee
· At committee meetings we often have a speaker for the first 45 minutes and then we discuss other topics/projects for the remainder of the meeting.
3. Implementation locally of actions to raise community awareness of water issues
· Showing films and leading discussions on Great Lakes issues at Monroe County libraries
· On the local sierra club website (http://newyork.sierraclub.org/rochester/Great_Lakes/Great%20Lakes.html
· & the facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SierraROC
· we are starting a conversation about water saving ideas
· Participate in beach cleanups
Holly Wheeler - Great Lakes Committee
Facebook: The Great Lakes Committee is working on sharing our mission and communicating with a larger audience. We’ve created a new Facebook page. Please “like” us at Great Lakes Committee Rochester Regional Sierra Club to stay informed on our upcoming events, follow links to Great Lakes Resources and share your ideas regarding our water.
Survey Monkey: Another new initiative from our committee is the development of a water conservation survey. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LFSPYBX . The results will help our committee plan future educational events in our community.
Laura Arney – Great Lakes Committee
The Great Lakes Committee invites you to participate in protecting our water. Precious is the water which is pure and clean. It refreshes the body. Water makes the earth productive and green. It supports life. Why do we need to worry? Americans use water at an astonishing rate and the clouds can’t recycle the water quickly. This summer we saw record amounts of drought which took a toll on our water reserves without much replenishment. Climate change is affecting rain fall - water can’t be taken for granted.
The water in our Great Lakes is mostly ancient water, derived from the glaciers melting. Native rain only returns annually 1% of the water in the five Great Lakes. Our watershed is small and population is large-Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse.
Where do we begin? With you! I bet you already do some things that contribute to water savings. We are collecting ideas and actions for saving water. We want to publish these ideas on our webpage to share how simple steps can make an impact.
Think about these categories of water use:
1) drinking, cooking, preparing food
2) producing food
4) nurturing plants, animals and trees.
5) using energy (energy production = lots of water)
Here are some water conservation ideas that we’ve received.
* I switched over every sink (gradually) to single lever control to allow me to set the water temp more efficiently, reducing water lost that is too hot or cold.
* I don’t run the water to clear the pipes of old water. I close the sink drain and run water into the basin. I use that water to wash my hands especially if I have been digging in the dirt. In the kitchen I use a bowl in one basin to collect water to start dish washing.
* I wet my hands then use my forearm to shut down the flow. Working in the soap and scrubbing with the water off, use my forearm again to turn the water flow back on.
* I wash my car on the lawn, not the driveway, using biodegradable soap. I don’t want the soapy water to flow to the storm drain, going to the treatment plant and the lake. The water filters into the earth and the natural critters process the soap. The vegetation benefits from the water and the water table underground receives filtered water.
* I don’t flush the toilets every time I empty my bladder.
* I collect water in a pan while I wait for the water to reach a nice temperature instead of letting it be wasted down the drain. This water can be used for cleaning or collected for house plants.
This is just a start. Send us your ideas so we can learn from each other to conserve and protect our water! Here are some ways to give us your ideas:
Email us at: GreatLakesCommitteeSC@gmail.com
or use our Facebook site: Great Lakes Committee Rochester Regional Sierra Club
or take the survey online at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LFSPYBX.
or stop by the Sierra Club table at the Greentopia Festival on September 14-16 and fill out our survey in person! http://greentopiafestival.com/ecofest/
The Great Lakes Committee of the Rochester Regional Sierra Club has been an active participant in the Healing our Water coalition. We have taken part in conferences, lobbying efforts and activities to bring awareness and funding to Great Lakes restoration and protection. Working together with other groups has enabled our small committee to have a big impact. This year the annual conference will be in Cleveland and so three of our members will travel for the events. We will bring back information and ideas and share these at our first meeting of the 2012-2013 year on Tuesday, September 25 from 7-9 pm. See the listing on the right for more information about our monthly meetings. Below is an article from a member who attended the HOW Lobbying Days in Washington, DC this past February 2012.
– Washington D.C. February 28th and 29th, 2012
Janet MacLeod, Great Lakes Committee
In past years other members of our Great Lakes Committee have attended the Great Lakes Lobbying Days in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Healing Our Waters Coalition. It was a first for me. Only after having gone there can I now fully appreciate the energy and enthusiasm that others of our committee have expressed upon their return to Rochester! What creates this reaction? The opportunity to learn from seasoned environmentalists and Great Lakes groups who provide their perspectives and knowledge to the mix along with actually sitting down with New York State representatives face-to-face in their D.C. offices to discuss lake concerns with them.
The pre-lobbying training we received on day one was extremely helpful in not only informing us of all current Great Lakes legislation, but key issues to focus on in our discussions, along with a good sense of where the parties stand in general regarding Great Lakes issues. We saw representatives in small teams of usually 6 or 7 of us following a well planned meeting schedule – usually allowing about 20 to 30 minutes per visit. Our co-leader and lake property owner, Kate Kremer, was able to offer testimonial in support of the lake level plan (current Plan B, Version 7). Her opportunity to make a statement was very timely and I believe they listened.
Our first evening culminated with an impressive reception at the Canadian Embassy. And yes, I believe the bulk of our chatting related to our day lobbying, but folks had an opportunity to mingle and sample hearty hors d’oeuvres and yes, drink Canadian beer while networking.
The second day focused entirely on our meetings with representatives or their staffers. My final session was with our very own Louise Slaughter who, without skipping a beat, began talking about why the new lake level plan was necessary. As an aside, she also spoke of how disappointed she was to learn that Olympia Snow announced she was no longer running for office since she was a voice of reason.
I met some wonderful, sincere people who had traveled to D.C. – some on their own dime - from all of the Great Lakes states which in itself reinforces a sense of accomplishment and positivity. But I wondered (aloud), do we really make a difference? The unanimous response was, “yes”, we do because our presence and voices create salience for Great Lakes concerns which are competing with a myriad of others issues our legislators are asked to take a stand on.
By Kate Kremer, Co-Chair Great Lakes Committee
The Great Lakes, including Lake Ontario, are in crisis. The human impact on Lake Ontario has grown so large that it is putting the future viability of a healthy lake at risk. A discussion of the current “lake level” issue exemplifies how we can engage in solutions that are for the common good of the environment and the people who live in it.
Since 1958, Lake Ontario has had a human-regulated water level for the purpose of protecting lake shore land owners and providing optimal water levels for the Montreal Harbor, shipping and hydroelectric power. Lake water level regulation has not historically taken into consideration the health of the ecosystem. Little fluctuation and higher water levels have destroyed many wetlands and decreased species diversity. The International Joint Commission (IJC), the Canadian and American body responsible for setting water level policy, has worked diligently for several years on this issue, eliciting local citizen and governmental agency feedback. The IJC recently proposed a new lake level plan that is being called “BV7” that addresses some of the limitations of earlier policy by restoring some of the natural flow and fluctuation. The public comment period ends June 15, 2012. (www.ijc.org/loslr/en/index.php )
This is positive progress and yet how did we continue for 50 years taking into consideration the needs of some stakeholders but not the health of the lake itself? Without an overall policy, we cannot adequately protect the rights of the public and of future generations to a healthy lake that can be used for multiple purposes by both individuals and the community. Jim Olson, the keynote speaker at our Sierra Club Forum on April 19, will discuss principles of public trust and how we can apply them to protecting our water as a common good in Western New York.
Water has always been the lifeblood of a society. Ancient cities were built along great rivers to provide for agriculture, hygiene and transportation. Peoples of ancient times were so keenly attuned to their reliance on water that they established the basic principle that waterways are owned in common and must be available for multiple uses by citizens. Jim Olson and Maude Barlow in their Report to the International Joint Commission on the Principles of the Public Trust Doctrine (November 30, 2011) trace this principle to the Codes of Rome and then to the Magna Carta and highlight it as a viable tool for protecting our water today. Olson and Barlow quote the Justinian Codes of Rome in 529 A.D.: “The following things are by natural law common to all – the air, running water, the sea and consequently the sea shore… but they cannot be said to belong to any one as private property, but rather are subject to the same law as the sea itself…” They explain how this “Public Trust Doctrine” has been adopted by the federal government and state legislatures and upheld by the courts in the United States.
In the case of the Great Lakes States, Barlow and Olson have outlined ways in which each state has laws, regulations and court cases that establish the principle of public trust related to waters. For example, they quote New York State’s Environmental Conservation Law as follows: “all the waters of the state are valuable public natural resources held in trust by this state, and this state has a duty as trustee to manage its waters effectively for the use and enjoyment of present and future residents and for the protection of the environment.” N.Y. Environmental Conservation Law section 15-1601 (McKinney 2011). The Public Trust Doctrine is a powerful tool that can provide a framework for viewing the long term health of the lake in every action that we take. It can give us the authority to fight against all actions that constitute a “taking” of the water and to fight any actions that would limit the use of the water by the public.
This is especially important as we look at these new standards recently put forth by the IJC as to how we will determine the levels of Lake Ontario for the next 50 years. There will be many interests that will speak in response to the document. The Public Trust Doctrine can help us to weigh these voices against the common good of the public to a clean and healthy lake that is sustained into the future. This will benefit all the stakeholders, public and private, and can provide common ground for moving forward.
The Great Lakes Committee meets monthly and works together to educate ourselves and the community, and provide advocacy on local and regional Great Lakes issues like the BV7 lake level plan. Come join us!
The International Joint Commission (IJC) has made additional information available online about Plan Bv7, a plan for regulating water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River that is currently under consideration. This information includes:
- A technical description of Plan Bv7: http://www.ijc.org/loslr/en/library/LOSLR%20Study%20Reports/Draft%20Plan%20Bv7%20Description.pdf
- Times and locations of Public Information Sessions: http://www.ijc.org/loslr/en/events/index.php
- Written comments about Plan Bv7 are invited and may be submitted via website: http://www.ijc.org/loslr/en/comments/index.php
- Nature Conservancy Details regarding Bv7: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/areas/greatlakes/policy/why-plan-bv7-works.xml
by Susan Stinson
Email us: GreatLakesCommitteeSC@gmail.com
Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GreatLakesRochester
What: Great Lakes Committee Meeting - When: Tuesday, September 24, 7:00 - 9:00pm First fall meeting: Recap of summer (Plan 2014 Lake Level hearings, Conversations with FLOW, Climate Change meeting) and Healing Our Water Conference. Solidify plans for fall.
Where: NEW LOCATION - Asbury First United Methodist Church, “1010 Building” located at 1010 East Ave. Rochester, NY 14607
**Pre-meeting political conversation & getting to know the new location starting at 6:30
Many thanks to Rochester’s Greenovation http://www.rochestergreen.org for hosting our meetings in 2013. We appreciate your hospitality and we encourage all to stop by, check out the space and participate in the many exciting sustainable activities.
Specific Dates listed below for 2013-2014 year
Sept 24 - Meeting
Oct 22 - Meeting
Nov 19 - Meeting. Changed to the third Tuesday due to holiday.
Dec 17 - Meeting. Changed to the third Tuesday due to holiday.
Jan 28 - Meeting
Feb 25 - Meeting
Mar 25 - Meeting
Apr 22 - Meeting
May 27 - Meeting
June Planning Meeting (date and location to be determined)